Police and Calgary Pride will work together after uniform debate spurs meeting

The Canadian Press
August 28, 2017
By The Canadian Press
Calgary Pride organizers say a meeting with police and other officials was productive but never was intended to reverse a decision to bar officers from marching in their uniforms in this year’s parade.

The organization issued a statement Friday saying the aim of the meeting was to develop a better understanding of the issues raised by members of the LGBTQ-plus community about how police work with them.

The statement says the meeting, which was convened by the mayor’s office, included representatives from Calgary Pride, the police commission, Chief Roger Chaffin, and the chief’s gender and sexually diverse advisory committee.

It says the participants committed to work together over the next year to address the issues.

Calgary Pride said last month that it encourages police to take part in the Sept. 3 parade, as long as it’s without uniforms, firearms, vehicles or institutional representation, such as floats.

Chaffin expressed disappointment at the time, but said in Friday’s statement that he wants Calgary to be a place where all people feel safe, especially when it comes to interacting with police.

“We look forward to ongoing conversations with those in Calgary’s LGBTQ-plus community that have concerns so we can find ways to improve our relationship and address their concerns,” Chaffin said in the statement.

In January, Pride Toronto organizers agreed to a list of demands from the city’s chapter of Black Lives Matter, including a ban on uniformed officers and police floats in the parade.

Pride Winnipeg invited police to march in its parade in June, but without cruisers or uniforms. Halifax police opted out of July’s Pride parade, citing the national debate on the topic.

In St. John’s, N.L., the Pride committee reversed course and invited uniformed police officers to march in the city’s parade, which was also in July.

“I’m pleased that we’ve had the opportunity to continue discussions focused on creating impactful and inclusive solutions to positively enhance the relationship with all members of Calgary’s gender and sexually diverse community,” said Jason Kingsley, president of Calgary Pride, in the release.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said in the statement he’s pleased both Pride and police are committed to building a relationship.

“These conversations are not always easy, but they are incredibly important,” Nenshi said.

Kingsley also said Friday that conservative provincial politicians can attend the parade as spectators.

Jason Kenney, a United Conservative Party leadership contender and former federal cabinet minister, initially said he would not be going because he was not invited.

Kingsley said the only politician to get a formal invitation to its upcoming parade is Premier Rachel Notley.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2017

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